I have lost my voice (in a place where my voice wasn’t mine)

Have I lost my voice by removing myself from social media? And if so, does it matter? What is ‘my voice’ on social media, anyway?

In thinking about the decision to leave, most streams of reasoning resolve to a simple question: what kind of intermediaries do I want brokering my knowledge, communication, and interaction with other humans?

Social media platforms are publishers. I post content to them. Their algorithms decide where and when and to whom the content is delivered. Such operations are precisely the purview of publishers: distribute ‘content’ to ‘consumers.’

Except social media publishes the content of their contributors with no monetary remuneration. Instead, they pontificate platitudes and self-praise for amplifying ‘the people’s voice,’ which, in turn, retrenches their self-appointed role as gatekeepers of the public sphere. Social media manages, controls, and exploits my voice for its revenue model. It does not give me a voice at all; I give my voice to it. Is it really ‘my voice’ if someone else decides who gets to hear it?

So yes, I have effectively ‘lost my voice’ on social media, but my voice on social media was free labour for a non-transparent, self-interested publisher. It is not a ‘partnership’ upon which I want to build my dependency.

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What do people mean when they say, ‘Science’?

What is science, exactly? Today we talk a lot about ‘evidence-based policy’ in government, academia, and in the media, but is there a widening gap in the way we define ‘evidence’ as a society?

Is ‘science’ just another segment on the evening news? How do we, as a general public, decide when to trust science? Do you believe the studies that say chocolate and coffee are good for you…or the other ones? How do you validate your beliefs about immunizing children?

Nadine Wathen (@nadinewathen) is a Full Professor in the Health Information Science Program in the Faculty of Information & Media Studies at Western University. She is a Research Scholar at the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children in Western’s Faculty of Education. Nadine holds an affiliate appointment in Western’s Department of Women’s Studies and Feminist Research and is also cross-appointed to the Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing. Her research develops and evaluates interventions for women and children experiencing violence, and seeks to enhance the science of knowledge translation and exchange (KTE) to ensure that new knowledge emerging from research is made available, in appropriate ways.

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Dispatches from the campaign trenches

In the summer of 2016 after finishing his undergrad, Micah Richardson (@richardsonmicah) quit his job and joined a fellowship in the Hillary Clinton Campaign. He was stationed in New Hampshire, working in field operations, where he organized a volunteer organization with regular phone-banks and canvassing.

In this podcast — a tiny dose of modern history — we hear Micah’s story and reflections on the nature of social movements, the politics of media and messaging, and how large groups of people align themselves to ideas and ideals.

We are joined in conversation by Jennifer O’Brien (@JeninLdnont) — a highly respected journalist and reporter in our community.

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